Kirby: Russians 'not interested' in communicating with Pentagon
Following the Russian announcement of sanctions on US officials, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby comments on the sanctions and how they affected US-Russian relations.
The Russian sanctions on numerous US officials are not affecting communication between Washington and Moscow, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told Al Mayadeen's correspondent in Washington on Friday in response to a question on the matter.
"The sanctions aren't having an effect on communications. We've been trying to have communications at the higher levels with the Russians now for several weeks and they clearly aren't interested in that," Kirby told our correspondent when asked if the sanctions on Washington were making communications with Russian officials more difficult.
He argued that the sanctions being mutual, i.e., both sides taking these measures against each other, was not a factor in the lack of communication.
"Right now we have believed but certainly today as offensive operations begin a new in the Donbass that this is exactly the kind of time that we need to be talking to Russian leaders at senior levels," Kirby added.
He accused Russia of being unwilling to engage at a senior level, though Moscow had been asking Washington to sit at the table for weeks ahead of the war in Ukraine, and the US was ignoring its demands.
Responding to a request for comment on him being among the US officials sanctioned by Russia, Kirby said, "as for me, I looked at everybody else on the list, that's a pretty fine group to belong to. So I'm okay with that."
Russia has for months been warning of the threat posed against it by NATO's attempts to expand eastward, which happened simultaneously with an increase in NATO military activity along Russia's borders, and batches of lethal weapons being sent to Ukraine, prompting Russia to request security guarantees from the West. Washington failed to provide the guarantees.
When the war broke out, as a result of Washington and Brussels ignoring the Russian demands, the US and its allies have rolled out comprehensive sanctions, including restrictions on the Russian central bank, export control measures, SWIFT cutoff for select banks, and closure of airspace to all Russian flights. Many of their companies have suspended their Russian operations.tra